Orion's First Homecoming
August 23, 2003

Hi all

I'm finally able to sit down and write about Orion's first HC!

We both loved it! I'm already excited about next year's, with all the talk of games and getting to know each other parties! It's going to be great! I was able to meet several people I've only met online before! Pat and Dale were there with Smoke, he sure is beautiful! Melody came all the way from California! She's a riot! We had some great laughs with her and her candid photos! Shari came all the way from Texas! It was great to meet her in person also. She showed us some of her puppy packets she does for her puppy buyers. She does a great job! Very creative! Also Jan from Northern Lights and was it her granddaughter? The little girl did a great job showing her full grown Shiloh! Also got to see some who I don't see often enough. Corinne, who has become a very
dear friend! Lilli made it too. Lilli, one of these days, you have to bring Timber with you! Karen, as always, busy taking pictures. Lyn, always with great advice. Dawn with her beautiful girls and Toran. Debbie and Dorothy. Sheila. Bill and Jill. My fellow CASSA members, we had a great turn out! And many more, just can't name them all! And, of course, the main attraction of the week, Tina and Lisa. Got to tell you, Tina's grandkids are starting to steal the show! Specially Matthew, handling Meg in the ring! What a cutie he is! There are some new names I was able to put faces to, like Raymond with Samson, that dog is beautiful! His pictures don't do him justice! Wendy with Hannah, she's a
cutie. Michelle with Mystic, who won big time her first time ever in the ring! NY Heather. I'm ready to do it all again! Now, if the weather will cooperate, and make it a little cooler, it would be even better! But, no talk of snow, please!

We arrived at HC Wednesday afternoon. I set up my canopy, shade screens, ground cover, x-pens for Orion in what later we called the swamp zone. It wasn't really that wet, but it was the lowest part of the field, so it wasn't dry either. Orion had a ball digging in the grass to find a cool muddy spot. Needless to say, he got cleaned up every night, but as long as he did it after each show, I didn't care. He was having fun! I must say, I was very happy to see how well he traveled! Eight hours in the car is no picnic, for either of us! We helped set up the ribbons and trophies, they were beautiful! Haven't seen a picture of them yet, did anybody get one? They were something really special!

Thursday was seminar day. Last year was my first HC, and I remember madly trying to write down everything Tina said, as I didn't want to forget any of it. This year, it was so much more relaxed! I actually got to listen! And will hopefully remember it better! The Behavior seminar had some great
reminders for me, on how to handle Orion better. The STM seminar was also great! Lisa did the field part and I got to demonstrate the stepping line to others. We had a ball using Sarah as a very cooperative puppy!

Friday was the Handling class given by Lisa. It was also great! Just in time to jump into the ring afterwards! I knew Orion wasn't going to do great, he's at a very gangly, uncoordinated age right now. But, he still won second place for his age group. Fran, the judge said he's crossing his front legs when he runs, and that his rear is higher than his front. All of this he should outgrow with time. I just wanted him to have a good time, and I think he did! Then, I showed Corinne's Charley. Charley has turned into a beautiful dog! I love his eyes! He has such an intelligent expression in them! And he ended up winning Best of Winners! Way to go Charley, you're now champion pointed! I'm so happy for him and Corinne!

In the afternoon, I took the Temperament testers certification. Boy, it's harder than it looks! We then tested, I believe it was 7 dogs. It was very interesting, to see the way different dogs reacted to the different tests.

Saturday was our big National. We had a 3 judge panel. Fran, Nic, and Tina. Again, Orion came in second for his age group. It's going to be a while before my poor baby gets a little more coordinated. He's growing so fast, he can't always control his movements. Poor Charley had to contend with two females, one who was just going out of heat, and the other who was starting. He
didn't have a prayer! He acted all goofy for me, and Corinne threatened to go into the ring and take care of a certain part of his anatomy. I asked her to give me another chance with Charley on Sunday. He did much better, but the poor guy, had a hard time with all the "special smells" around. Charley is just coming into his prime, and can only dream about a "future date". No wonder he was
such a goof ball! I should have cracked down harder on him, but I just don't have the heart to be mean to someone else's dog! That afternoon I had Orion micro chipped. Most of the puppies and some adult dogs all had it done.

Sunday we had our third show with Nic as the judge. By this time my legs were giving out on me, and I wanted Orion to spend some time with kids. So, I asked Josh to show Orion for me. It was Orion's turn to act goofy, all he did was bunny hop around the ring, and he received third place. But, he looked like he was having a ball, and that was my goal for this show. In the afternoon, I watched Sage's puppies LER. Boy, those puppies are going to be a handful! But they were so cute! Each evening we had meetings and discussed many topics.

Several parts were very touching. For example, Tina's surprise picture! It's awesome! The NS and GV awards! And a very special award in remembrance of Dawn's Vickey had us all wiping our eyes.

I must acknowledge Marie Willard here. She and her family did a great job feeding us three meals a day. I ate like a horse! It was all delicious. I don't think that woman cooked anything I didn't like! They were all great, specially her grandson Josh, who helped her the whole time we were there!

Monday, I faced the long drive home. Again, Orion traveled well, and we arrived home safe and sound.

Now, I'm ready to start planning for HC next year!



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